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The Chrysler 300 will be a recipient of the new 9-speed automatic transmission.
A 16% improvement in fuel efficiency is expected from nine-speed transmission

Automakers are pulling out all the stops and looking to squeeze every single mile per gallon out of their automobiles by any means necessary. Automakers are looking at more fuel-efficient engines with smaller displacements, but they're also looking at reducing the weight of vehicles and increasing the number of forward gears used in car/truck transmissions. 
Adding forward gears to a transmission makes a lot of sense because the slower the engine spins, the less fuel it consumes. In years past automatic transmissions used in vehicles commonly had four or five forward gears. More recent vehicles are moving up to six-speed and in some cases even eight-speed automatic transmissions in luxury vehicles. Chrysler is eyeing even more gears inside with nine-speed gearboxes for more mainstream vehicles.
According to Mircea Gradu, vice president transmission powertrain driveline engineering, Chrysler will roll out its first nine-speed transmission by the first half of 2013. “I’m convinced that, sooner or later, others will come up with similar solutions,” Gradu said in an interview from his office in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where Chrysler is based. “Hopefully, the time will be as long as possible until they catch up with the technology.”
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne believes that the automaker and its various brands will be able to meet looming fuel-efficiency standards by using technology that improves traditional gasoline engines combined with better transmissions rather than moving to plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles. CAFE standards will reach 54.5 mpg by 2025.
Michael Omotoso, a powertrain analyst at LMC Automotive, said, "They’re [Chrysler] doing basically the bare minimum to satisfy government regulations. Their strategy is to meet the standards with minimum investment.”
Bloomberg reports that the nine-speed transmission Chrysler is developing could boost fuel economy of certain models by as much as 16%. Chrysler has already scored a 15% boost in the highway fuel economy of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger by adding an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Source: Business Week

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By greggles on 8/1/2012 9:41:36 AM , Rating: -1
People could learn to drive manual/standard, and start actually driving again. Less complicated mechanically, cheaper, more fuel efficient, lighter, and most importantly MORE FUN.

RE: Or....
By GreenEnvt on 8/1/2012 9:46:16 AM , Rating: 4
More fun on nice windy roads, and open driving sure. I loved when I had a manual and worked close to home, and love it on my motorcycle.

However for those of us who commute in stop/go traffic daily, I'll take an auto please.

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By MrBlastman on 8/1/12, Rating: -1
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By Motoman on 8/1/2012 12:13:39 PM , Rating: 1
Yup. For the past 20 years or so I've lived in major metropolitan areas and driven nothing but large pickup trucks with manual transmissions.

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By tayb on 8/1/2012 1:28:59 PM , Rating: 5
You call 'BS' on his opinion that he would rather drive in traffic with an automatic than a manual?

You can perfect it all you want but it is still an annoying pain in the ass to shift gears all the freaking time.

Manuals are on the way out in favor of automatics or manomatics.

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By MrBlastman on 8/1/12, Rating: -1
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By Labotomizer on 8/1/2012 2:23:42 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I am lazy. And that's a pretty good reason for wanting an easier drive to work. I can easily afford the difference in gas that I would have saved with a manual transmission. It's well worth it when it can take 20 minutes to get to work on a good day, 1.5 hours on a bad day.

As an aside, I gave up the manual when I had to make the evacuation during the Houston Hurricane Rita scare. Houston to Dallas is, normally, a 4 hour drive. It took 27 hours that day. You have no idea how painful it was to have a manual for that trip. Stop and go traffic, with a max speed of about 5 mph, for almost 24 hours is pretty much how I imagine hell.

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By Reclaimer77 on 8/1/12, Rating: 0
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By Labotomizer on 8/1/2012 3:28:04 PM , Rating: 3
haha Of course it is, that was the point. The real argument was that I like being lazy. Which is a perfectly sound argument that I am far too lazy to expand.

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By mindless1 on 8/2/2012 2:40:44 AM , Rating: 1
That's ridiculous. It's not being lazy to let a machine do the work for you. I suppose those that aren't lazy are just jogging to work eh? Or at least get rid of your power steering too?

A manual transmission makes no sense whatsoever except for two situations:

Vehicles that have to haul heavy loads, in which case a sacrifice is made to go with the manual.

Idiots that think they are boy racers on public roads and need to feel more in control of their car by doing the shifting themselves.

Nothing else is good about manual transmissions except the lower cost.

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By Spuke on 8/2/2012 5:55:04 PM , Rating: 1
Idiots that think they are boy racers on public roads and need to feel more in control of their car by doing the shifting themselves.
So all of us manual drivers are just idiots. Don't you think that's just a little extreme? I'm not in the habit of calling people idiots because they prefer to do something I don't. We all have our differences and I'm perfectly fine with that. What's your problem?

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By mindless1 on 8/2/2012 8:17:10 PM , Rating: 3
If you had the choice of an auto and went with a manual for a passenger vehicle on public roads other than to save money or haul loads, yes.

How are you perfectly fine with our differences if I prefer to call something idiotic and you don't? Seems like a double standard to me. To withhold speech in order to create the illusion of a touchy-feely world has its downsides. If you own a manual because it makes you feel like a boy racer, you might as well know that some people out there think that's idiotic.

Perhaps you have another reason for owning one, I meant only what I wrote and used a non-slang word with a proper definition in any dictionary. Shall I no longer have thoughts that disagree or is it that I'm not allowed to express them if they differ from yours?

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By Reclaimer77 on 8/1/12, Rating: -1
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By GotThumbs on 8/1/2012 3:49:15 PM , Rating: 2
Have you even been to Europe? It's much harder to find/rent an automatic there. Most Europeans drive, have manual transmissions due to reliability and fuel efficiency. I have only owned vehicles with manual transmissions. I feel they are lower maintenance, more efficient, and less prone to mechanical issues....especially if the driver doesn't hammer the clutch and transmission. Most of my family drives automatics and that's OK too. My brother had to have his camaro serviced twice for a bad auto-transmission. Very expensive item to have serviced.

I wouldn't say never to an automatic, but I'm more than fine with my 3 vehicles being manuals and towing through the gears is always a blast.

fyi. I regularly get 25-26 mpg in my 5-speed 1 ton Dodge Ram diesel.

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By sigmatau on 8/1/2012 9:31:05 PM , Rating: 2
You are correct, but car manufacturers have stepped up their game.

Nissan introduced their first CVT in the 2003 Nissan Murano. This was their first use of this transmission (which kinda sucks btw). Do you know what is the warranty on this transmission? 120,000 miles in the US. Talk about reliability.

My next car will have an auto with a lifetime warranty on it and other engine parts. Not sure why people still buy cars with 36,000 miles warranty. Oh, and its not a Huyndai/Kia.

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By macca007 on 8/2/2012 4:08:16 AM , Rating: 2
Definitely have to disagree there about lower maintenance in manuals, Maybe I am a poor driver but 3 clutches later and about $6k speaks for itself. Only takes one bad nights sleep, Running late to work still half asleep so don't quite get that smooth gear change then accidently CRUUUUUUNCH those gears and there goes 1 months wages in repairs :(
This will be my last manual for sure, I see then fading away into oblivion each new car generation that comes along.
Even cheap cars now are getting 5 or 6 speed autos in them,Don't save any money by buying a manual version of the car these days, With some brands the auto and manual are even the same price. I think it will get to a point where it(manuals) will only be available on sports cars maybe its already starting to happen?
I guess manuals will always seem to appeal to young people and will still be needed for those who need to tow but majority of people stuck in peak hour traffic will want an auto as roads get even more crowded as years go on.

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By Spuke on 8/2/2012 5:56:00 PM , Rating: 2
$6k for three clutch jobs? What car are you driving?

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By macca007 on 8/7/2012 2:46:47 AM , Rating: 2
Only a Holden Commodore SS, No BMW that's for sure :)
I know I get ripped off at the dealer, But I don't have any mechanic to go to.

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By Brandon Hill on 8/1/2012 9:56:08 AM , Rating: 5
Nowadays, most automatic transmissions are more fuel efficient than the manual version.

On top of that, manuals transmissions are quickly disappearing as options altogether.

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By MadMan007 on 8/1/2012 10:11:27 AM , Rating: 2
I see this in EPA ratings all the time, although it's usually close within a few MPG. I wonder how much of that is up to auto transmissions being tuned for the test? I know there are other efficiency improvements but it's also easy to make them look good for a set test with known parameters.

Side note - I get 35+ MPG combined in my 5-speed manual transmission Mazda 3 (2011 2.0L) which is 6 MPG above the EPA combined rating and 3 MG above the highway rating.

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By MrBlastman on 8/1/2012 11:08:54 AM , Rating: 1
The one thing these "mega" auto transmissions won't be efficient at are repair bills. The more parts they put in them, the more expensive and time-consuming they are to fix.

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By Brandon Hill on 8/1/2012 11:16:35 AM , Rating: 2
Well, that could be said for any new "product" purchased today from TVs to washing machines to refrigerators.

New automobiles are loaded with advanced engines, electronics, etc. that are just waiting to empty your wallet in the event of a failure (after the warranty period).

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By MrBlastman on 8/1/2012 11:37:13 AM , Rating: 1
Advanced shouldn't always equal "more complicated," though.

There is a certain elegance in mechanical design that rests in simplicity of operation and repetitive action. The more factors you add into the system, the greater the potential for failure and it isn't a linear relationship.

Anyone can design something complicated. However, it takes a true genius to design something to do a complicated task with an utterly simple design and mechanics--and in less steps.

I know American cars have made huge improvements in the last decade but I still worry about the tainted past that they have when it comes to upping the ante. This holds especially true for a company like Chrysler which... is affiliated with Fiat, who doesn't have that great of a reputation.

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By Spuke on 8/2/2012 6:27:37 PM , Rating: 2
Advanced shouldn't always equal "more complicated," though.
And sometimes things are just complicated and that's the way it is. And then sometimes things just SEEM complicated because we don't understand it. DCTs, for example, take existing technology, manual transmissions, and adds a layer of electronics to it. Quite frankly it's still the gearbox, clutch, TO we all know and love with a more precise shifting and clutching algorithm added to it. A DCT is still a mostly mechanical device. I deal with things like this daily with people (I'm in IT). Adding a simple computer (and transmission computers are simple) does not complexity make. Adding another set of gears in a conventional torque converter automatic does not complexity make. You know what's complex? The theories centering around time and space.

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By sigmatau on 8/1/2012 9:34:02 PM , Rating: 2
Or, Or just get a car with a nonstupid 36,000 mile warranty. How are they still in business? My local GM, Toyota, Scion, and maybe others offer lifetime mechanical warranties (nationwide too btw!)

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By Tabinium on 8/1/2012 11:44:10 AM , Rating: 2
I've noticed that the effective final drive ratio (which is the top gear, 5th or 6th, times the final drive) of the manual transmissions in new Ford Focus (5 gears) and Mazda 3 (6 gears) is actually higher than that of the autos. This is why there are more examples nowadays of autos besting manuals in highway mileage.
Automatics, however, can be more efficient in the city, because a computer and torque converter are simply more consistent than a human.

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By fishman on 8/1/2012 12:00:05 PM , Rating: 2
It's the way the EPA tests are run. The manual transmissions are shifted at specified engine RPMS and car speeds.

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By Philippine Mango on 8/1/2012 12:21:51 PM , Rating: 2
Aside from automated manual transmissions, automatics are still less efficient than manual transmissions. The reason you see the same or slightly worse fuel economy on the manual transmission version of a car nowadays is entirely due to the gear ratios chosen for the stick shift versions. People today who buy manuals want a sporty car and so to make it like that, they've made the car more easily rev which consequently hurts fuel economy. Even so, that not withstanding, because one has total control over the shifting patterns, a short geared (lots of revs) manual can still beat an automatic in fuel economy especially if you short shift or even skip shift gears.

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By sigmatau on 8/1/2012 9:36:06 PM , Rating: 2
I understand what you are saying but when people see 34mpg vs 29mpg highway they will crap on a manual.

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By FITCamaro on 8/1/2012 1:17:36 PM , Rating: 1
If an automatic is more fuel efficient than a manual, its because they gave the auto better gear ratios. With the same engine and final drive ratio, a manual will always be a little better than an auto because of it being around 100 pounds lighter.

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By Rukkian on 8/1/2012 1:34:39 PM , Rating: 2
So how would somebody go about buying a manual and getting the better gear ratios?

The point is that for most people, the auto will be basically equivalent to a manual (in some cases much better). The argument that they are alot better is not true anymore except in extreme cases.

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By conquistadorst on 8/1/2012 1:53:05 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but I'd really like to call BS on that. This only started happening once the EPA "updated" the way the tests were conducted to better reflect driving realities. So I wonder if this "reality" reflects common poor driving habits such as slamming the gas as soon as the light turns green.

I would like to see some actual fuel efficiency-maximums studies done to see which transmission-type can go further, throwing aside realities of poor driving habits and just pushing the machines themselves to the max.

The only thing I can say for certain is that the EPA rates my 2001 vehicle at 27/33MPG but I regularly obtain 38-40mpg even with a 50/50 highway/city mileage mixture.

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By sigmatau on 8/1/2012 9:38:49 PM , Rating: 2
The EPA test for a 2001 car was PURE BS. If that car was retested using the new EPA test (that came out aroune 2005), it would get an even worse score.

You must drive like an old fart. :}

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By YashBudini on 8/1/2012 7:53:41 PM , Rating: 2
On top of that, manuals transmissions are quickly disappearing as options altogether

Ah, but a niche market also allows for higher pricing. Witness the Acura TL, where the only way to get a 6 speed manual is to buy a top of the line AWD model with the Tech Package.

To buy a manual for better mileage started becoming a moot point once lock-up torque converters became popular.

As for options disappearing, take a look at how many cars offer any interior colors options. That's less about demand than it is about streamlining assembly lines.

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By sigmatau on 8/1/2012 9:43:32 PM , Rating: 2
Bingo! A car manufacturer loses money offering a manual on a mainstream car as it makes them have to tool two different assembly lines for a car that is not wanted by 93.5% of the population (US). Some car manufacturers are offering an auto at the same price as a manual. Look at the Ford Fusion.

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By YashBudini on 8/1/2012 10:50:42 PM , Rating: 2
Decades ago economy cars were routinely slow performers and automatics made them total dogs. Yeah they were a tad quicker with stick, but often very marginally.

These comments don't include the GM 2 speed Powerglide, which managed to make V8s behave like 6 cylinders.

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By theapparition on 8/1/2012 9:58:11 AM , Rating: 4
I'm a big fan of manual transmissions.

Less complicated? Yes
Cheaper? Yes
Lighter? Yes
More fun? Definitely (although most people can't drive an auto).

But more fuel efficient? No, not by a long shot anymore. That was true with old style mechanical transmissions. But modern electronically controlled ones do a much better job than any person can.

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By sprockkets on 8/1/2012 10:14:37 AM , Rating: 1
And that's the problem. I have a feeling 9 speed autos will be as fun to drive as a CVT transmission. So what if it saves fuel? These stupid new cars upshift so fast you barely get any good acceleration out of them.

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By michael2k on 8/1/2012 10:20:36 AM , Rating: 2
Saving fuel is the whole point of this exercise, sprockkets.

That's like saying, "So what if it moves forward? These cars move so much you barely get any good nap time out of them."

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By sprockkets on 8/1/2012 10:37:48 AM , Rating: 2
Let's look at it another way - todays a/c systems are around 1.5-2x times more efficent. They also break down 3x as much and the evaporator coils leak around 10x as much.

In other words, you save $30 a month. You also pay an thousands more in repairs over the life of the system as well vs an older system. Where did the EPA/GOV factor lost refrigerant and extra energy and money in repairs when mandating higher SEER ratings?

I don't want a 9 speed auto if all it does is crap up more in repairs vs. a measly 15% in fuel savings.

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By michael2k on 8/1/2012 12:37:27 PM , Rating: 2
That's not your original argument, to which I in good faith responded to.

If you're claiming "added complexity vs efficiency", then there are in fact other ways to increase efficiency, but I suspect you would respond in exactly the same way as your OP in which you complain about a lack of good acceleration.

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By Iaiken on 8/1/2012 10:21:39 AM , Rating: 2
You make the mistake of being an enthusiast and trying to speak for the 99% of people who view their automobile as an appliance. While I agree with you, the buying public at large disagrees with us.

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By sprockkets on 8/1/2012 10:32:07 AM , Rating: 2
I know, I know, the 99% of the population that is beyond retarded and uses apple products, also appliances.

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By Mathos on 8/1/2012 10:49:20 AM , Rating: 2
Hmmm From what I remember, from test driving a charger and avenger with the 6 speed CVT's in em, they weren't that bad. If you put the foot on the gas they'd go like a 4 or 5 speed. I haven't personally tested the newer 8 speed yet. But if memory serves, both the 8 and 9 are 4 gear sets with 2 shift elements per gear, at least on the 8, and they're timed aggressively on the lower gears.

You have to remember though, they haven't even added Direct injection or turbos yet to their newer engines. I say that because back in the day they use to put turbo's on the 4 cylinder Lebaron, friend of mine had one. I know they have the tech to do so, just don't know why they haven't put out the DI Twin turbo versions of their engines yet.

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By freedom4556 on 8/1/2012 12:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
You have to remember though, they haven't even added Direct injection or turbos yet to their newer engines. I say that because back in the day they use to put turbo's on the 4 cylinder Lebaron, friend of mine had one. I know they have the tech to do so, just don't know why they haven't put out the DI Twin turbo versions of their engines yet.

I know why, and the answer is two words: insurance and cost. In '93 they had a twin-turbo trans am prototype that was faster, lighter, more efficient, and more powerful than the LT1 V8 trans am from '92. Why didn't GM make it? Insurance for buyers of the car would've jumped significantly, there would've been the cost for retooling and the turbos are just plain less reliable vs not having turbos. That and a gas prices slump in the early 90s fueled the SUV craze, but that's something else... Also, look at the different versions of the Mitsu Evo. At a certain point, forced induction hurts efficiency rather than helping.

And btw, direct injection only buys a few percent increase in mpg in gas engines. It was great for diesels, but moving the injector into the cylinder instead of right outside in the intake port? Most domestics are just putting off the redesign cost for the V6/V8s.

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By theapparition on 8/1/2012 3:38:48 PM , Rating: 2
They never had a LT1 TransAm in 1992. It debuted in 1993.

DI also buys a lot more than a few percent. Even so, each addition of a few percent adds up. There are also a lot of other benefits that DI allows.

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By freedom4556 on 8/2/2012 4:49:42 PM , Rating: 2
They never had a LT1 TransAm in 1992. It debuted in 1993.

Ehh, off by a year. I only remembered that it was the LT1 because they called it out by name on the article I read.

DI also buys a lot more than a few percent.

Direct injection by itself is mainly good for reducing NOx emissions and improving power, to get noticeably better economy from DI it needs to be coupled with VVT, which most cars have by now, even the domestics. But your right, single digits add up.

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By Visual on 8/2/2012 8:17:44 AM , Rating: 2
A CVT can be fun too, it can easily have a mode that picks the optimal RPM for torque and acceleration instead of for fuel efficiency.

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By sigmatau on 8/1/2012 9:25:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry but they are not more fuel efficient. Not any more. Not even close on some new models.

When you can get 34mpg with an automatic on the highway vs 29 with a manual in the same exact car, it make the manual look terrible. Scion FR-S if you are wondering.

Many other new cars with automatics get 1-2 miles/gallon better than manuals. I can't belive it either but this is the future.

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